Part of raising kids is making sure they can negotiate the world with good manners. The world is a better place when everyone treats each other with respect and good etiquette…do I sound like Miss Manners, yet?
We all do the “please and thank you” but here are 5 manners we forget to teach our kids. Manners are so important, of course, but it is easy to get busy and forget about the ones that result in great character traits and strong morals.
Good manners will make your life easier- more friends, more likable, more people will be happy to be near you and to help you out.
There are ways to make manners fun, too.
We want our kids to want to have good manners and to want to be respectful to others… that is the end goal: responsible, kind adults.
Important Manners for Kids
1. Saying Hello
Why is it that the word hello, from an adult, makes a child turn shy? If someone says hello to my son, he will crawl back into his ‘shell’ and give a small smile, but not say a word. I told our son to remember that when he does not say hi, it comes across as rude and I don’t want anyone to think that he is rude (when I know that he is so sweet!)
NOTE: We also have a safety rule that he does not have to say hello to anyone that he doesn’t know if he isn’t with me. (AKA: don’t talk to strangers)
Manners Activity Idea: Role Play. Pretend to be walking into the store, running into someone that you know and practice saying hello.
2. Two Way Conversation
We have to remind our children that when someone asks “How are you?” You respond with “I’m well. How are you?” instead of responding with “Good” or with nothing at all. It is a conversation, not a one-word answer.
Manners Activity Idea: Play a back and forth game. Start a back and forth conversation. You have ten seconds to answer before the other person gets a turn. If you don’t answer in ten seconds, the other person gets a point.
Learn to say “Thank you” when someone compliments you. Don’t just smile, but say “thank you.” Give a compliment back, when you can.
Manners Activity Idea: Have a compliment cloud. Our kids do this in their classroom. They keep a “cloud” drawn on their dry erase board. Every time that they either take a compliment well or give a compliment to someone, they get a point. When they get to 50 compliments in the cloud, they get a treat.
4. Phone Etiquette
Kids have to learn how to be kind and mannerly on the phone. I want our kids to answer by asking “Hello?” and when the person on the other end needs an adult, our kids say “One minute, please.”
I remember when my mom taught me to answer the phone and how to respond.
*I also want them to know that they can not text if they are talking to someone else or having a meal with someone.
Manners Activity Idea: Use old cell phones and pretend to be in different situations: in the store, at dinner, in the library…
5. Eating at a Restaurant
We teach our kids to use silverware, etc. but do we teach them how to eat when we are out? Table manners aren’t for you – they are for everyone around you. Talking quietly, cutting your food, asking when you need something (like a straw or napkin) are all important manners.
Manners Activity Idea: Practice something every few days: no elbows on the table, napkin in your lap, wiping your face with that napkin and not your hand.